[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column! For help with addiction please visit Treatment 4 Addiction]
Money was tight every week for Erik and I. We were paying a weekly rent of $200 dollars at Robert’s apartment. Coming up with that money each week proved to be a challenge so we had to come up with other creative ways to make money. Erik would escort from time to time which was an easy way to get fast money. We would also occasionally make a little money from selling crystal meth, however most of these funds went back into feeding our own habit.
One day, Robert mentioned to us that there was a crystal meth harm reduction class at a local community center where participants received a $20 dollar Ralphs gift card for their time. This sounded like a good deal to me. We needed the money and $20 would provide more than enough groceries for me since I was actively on the crystal meth diet.
We started attending these crystal meth harm reduction classes for the next four weeks. These classes were very different that other 12 step groups I had attended. These groups would talk about the dangers of crystal meth but would give suggestions on how to use it more “safely” (if that’s even possible). They recommended complete abstinence from the drug but were not adamant about it. I think they realized that the majority of the people who attended this meeting were there for the free grocery card. It was a way to get people in the door to teach them about the dangers of crystal meth with the hope of maybe getting through to someone.
At the time I actually enjoyed going to these classes. I listened, learned, and Identified with a lot of the things they had to say. Erik on the other hand seemed to have no interest in listening to what was being said and spent the entire time playing games on his phone…
I for one actually really enjoyed the crystal meth harm reduction class tonight. So many things struck cords with me. They talked about the link between meth users and signs of irritability, restlessness, depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts. These are all of the things I have been feeling lately causing a great deal of strain on our relationship. Part of me wants to stop using completely but I know that’s only possible if you stop with me, I can’t do it alone. I asked you this afternoon while we layed in bed if you were happier when we were clean and sober. You didn’t respond right away and then I realized you had peacefully fallen asleep. I just don’t think we can survive doing this for that much longer.
Even though I was using meth on a daily basis, I still romanticized the thought of being sober and having a regular life. All I really wanted at the time was to have my own place with Erik, be happy together and do things that normal couples do. I knew deep down the only way that this would ever be possible was if we both quit using drugs and got sober. I knew Erik was not ready to give up drugs. I would bring this up to him every now and then but he tended to always avoid the question. At this time holding onto that relationship was a good enough excuse for me to continue using drugs. And who was I kidding? I wasn’t ready to give it up either.